PARIS — The Swedish Academy announced on Thursday that it had awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature to Mo Yan, a Chinese author whose work has been partially banned but who is not seen as a dissident.
“Through a mixture of fantasy and reality, historical and social perspectives, Mo Yan has created a world reminiscent in its complexity of those in the writings of William Faulkner and Gabriel García Márquez, at the same time finding a departure point in old Chinese literature and in oral tradition,” the citation for the award declared, striking what seemed a careful balance after campaigns of vilification against other Chinese Nobel laureates.
While his American audience has been limited, a film based on his novel “Red Sorghum” and directed by Zhang Yimou, was one of the most internationally acclaimed Chinese films, seen by millions.
In addition to novels, Mo Yan has published short stories, essays on various topics, and “despite his social criticism is seen in his homeland as one of the foremost contemporary authors,” the citation said.
Chinese praise a Nobel 'first' -- ignoring past winner
October 11, 2012 | 10:37 am
BEIJING -- Chinese state television hailed Mo Yan as "the first Chinese writer to win the Nobel Prize in literature" following the announcement Thursday of the 2012 award.
The report conveniently ignored Gao Xingjian, the Chinese-born French national whose 2000 Nobel award for literature was condemned by Beijing as anti-Chinese.
As part of its quest for soft power, Beijing has been obsessed for years about winning Nobel prizes, which in its view too often go to dissidents and emigres. Chinese authorities were especially stung by the peace prize awards to the Dalai Lama and most recently in 2010 to the dissident writer Liu Xiaobo, who is serving an 11-year prison term for subversion of state authority.
Mo Yan probably will come under considerable pressure from the activist community to speak up on Liu’s behalf.